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I^AY 13 1904 


' Mistake me not, for sure, Aeacides 
Was Ajax, called so from his grandfather." 

Taming of the Shreto. 

The Epic glory of Achilles, and in a lesser degree, the 
renown of Ajax, Peleus, and Telamon, have well nigh eclipsed 
for us, as for the Greek world generally, the fame of one from 
whom they all boasted themselves derived, and by whose name 
their race is constantly designated in song and story. 

Aeacus, the just and mighty sovereign of a peaceful realm, 

the honoured of supreme Zeus, and sharer though mortal of 

divine labours when " the topless towers of Ilion " were rising 

under heavenly hands, the incorruptible Judge before whom a 

later consciousness arraigned departed souls, is one of those 

old-world figures that look down through the dawn light of 

Greek legend, dim and majestic as shapes of kings and prophets 

blazoned on Cathedral panes. No sovereign poet has made 

their names familiar to distant ages, and their place in Art is 

but the corner of the pediment, the background of the vase, yet 

i now and again a historian's casual mention, a traveller's too 

; scanty notice, or a rare coin-type, will remind us how largely 

' these half-forgotten worthies once dominated popular tradition 

and belief. 

"They were adored, too, once," and this assures us that 
their legends rest on a basis of solid fact, since the eminently 
practical Hero-worship of the Greeks was never wasted on 
creations of poet or pedigree-maker. To know that a Hero's 



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tomb was a place of sacrifice for several centuries, is to feel 
reasonably certain that such a person lived and died, though 
his recorded acts may be myths pure and simple. 

And since, to quote the paradox of Freeman, " Local tradition 
is the most precious thing in the world when you can get it, 
only you never can " ; it is precisely in the case of Heroes whose 
memory was kept green by local cults rather than embalmed 
by literature, that we may hope to learn something about their 
actual environment, something of that vanished world which 
bequeathed their names and graves to the reverent guardian- 
ship of Hellas. 

Accordingly, this little Essay is an attempt to study Aeacus 
primarily as local Hero, and to coiTelate the myths concerning 
him with the historical facts of his cult in Aegina. 

Materials for such a study though exceedingly scattered are 
far from wanting ; they can best perhaps be grouped according 
to three main sources, corresponding to three well-marked 
phases in the history of Aeacus. 

1. There is firstly local tradition, preserved chiefly by j 
Pausanias and Pindar, wherein Aeacus appears as wholly and 
solely Aeginetan, king and founder of an island state. 

2. The narrative of Herodotus is our chief authority for 
the worship of the Hero in historical times, and we there see 
him develop from a local into a Hellenic champion, warring 
with the Persian. 

3. Lastly, we have numerous descriptions and representa- 
tions of the Underworld, in which Aeacus, no longer associated 
with Aegina, or even Hellas, divides the kingdom of souls with 
co-assessors, and as Plato tells us, judges all the European 

The subject then falls naturally into three divisions, which 
it seemed convenient to treat separately, presenting the material 
belonging to each in connected form, and discussing the prob- 
lems that suggest themselves under each heading. 


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Abacus as King of Aegina. 

A. The Rape of Aegina and Birth of Aeacus, 

It was to a rocky uninhabited island in the Saronic Gulf 
that Zeus carried oflF from Phlius the maiden Aegina*, daughter 
of the River Asopus'*, and there she bore to him Aeacus, who 
grew up solitary, a king, but without subjects. The island, 
which had been called Oenone' was thenceforth known by 
the name of Aegina. Being come to man's estate, Aeacus 
prayed to Zeus for inhabitants, who forthwith sprang from the 

This Aeginetan story is no exception to the rule that Greek 
myths, far from being gratuitous inventions, usually conceal 
under a special diction facts which they originally expressed or 
explained. There is, as it were, a set of formulae underlying 
them all, which modern archaeology seeks to detect and to 
translate into terms of plain prose. Let us ask then what 
elements common to other myths appear in this birth-legend, 
and what residuum of fact they most probably stand for. 

Three points strike us at the outset. 

First, Aeacus is the son of Aegina, just as his neighbour the 
snake-king Kychreus is the son of Salamis^ and Triptolemus 
is the son of Eleusis*, and, to take one more of many examples, 
Oenomaus is the son of Harpina^ another so-called local 

Now in all other cases where a hero's parent is the eponym 
of his native place we find that he belongs to a stock which 
was held to be literally autochthonous, and are thus led to 

» Paus. II. 29. ApoUod. in. 12. 6. Athen. xiii. 666. 

2 Rivers so oaUed in Boeotia, Sicyon, Trachis, Paros. Perhaps in Aegina, 
Nem. in. 4. Strab. viii. 328. 

' Pindar, passim. Steph. Byz. s.v. Also Oinopia, Isth, vn. 23. 

* Paus. I. 35. 1. 

5 Panyassis (Preller, Gr. Myth, 770). 

« Paus. V. 22. 4. 


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surmise that Salamis, Aegina, and the rest are not mere geo- 
graphical expressions in these myths, but are localised forms 
of that great Earth Mother from whom certain families and 
peoples directly traced their descent. Confirmation, I think, 
is found in the case of Kychreus, if we compare him with the 
serpent kings of Athens, and in the case of Triptolemus, if we 
remember that he is called son of Ge' as well as son of Eleusis. 
It is natural to suppose that these localised forms were gradually 
merged in a wider conception, that the idea of some spot of 
Earth, Salamis, Aegina or " dear mother Ida " as literal parent 
of the original dwellers there, preceded the more general notion 
of iraiJLfirjTmp Ttj, 

Secondly, that Aeacus is the first inhabitant of his native 
island is only another way of saying that he is the aboriginal 
par excellence^ the First Man ; like Aigialeus at Sicyon, Aras at 
Phlius, or Phoroneus at Argos^ To him as to every local Adam 
applies the remark of Pausanias about the first king of Argos, 
" What happened before his time is forgotten." This view lends 
colour to the derivation of the name Aiakos from Aia®, and its 
interpretation as signifying the Man or Son, of Earth. 

And thirdly, the story that the people of Aeacus sprang 
from the ground, finds its natural explanation as a metaphor 
common to the legends of aborigines in all parts of the 

' Paus. 1. 14. 4. Apoll. i. 4. 6. Pherecyd. fr. 12. 

8 Paus. n. 6. 6, 12. 4, 16. 6. 

• See Womer in Roscher's Lex, s.v., who compares Ata/c6s from LXov or Ata, 
and Ad^daKoSi Adtos, and thinks there may have been an Arcadian and a 
Thessalian Aiakos. The former founded the first Zeus temple in Arcadia 
(Serv. Aen. vm. 362). The latter, founder of Dia in Thessaly (Steph. Byz. s. 
Atd), and made king of Thessaly by Zeus (Serv. Aen. iv. 402), would of course 
be identified with the Aeginetan A, when Peleus got to Aegina. 

10 The Aeginetans, like the Arcadians and Athenians, claimed to be 
oifTdx^oPcs, Hellanicus ap. Harpokrat. s.v. The derivation of Myrmidon from 
fiOpfiTf^ is probably responsible for the late legend that the subjects of Aeacus 
were ants changed into men. Hesych. s.v. fxvpfnidbvcs, Ovid Met, vn. 620, 
Hygin. Fah. 52. The Myrmidons certainly dwelt at some time in Aegina (Nem, 
ra. 13, Steph. Byz. s.v. Myrmidonia), but their connection with Aeacus rests 
solely on •♦contaminatio" of this fancy derivation with the tradition that the 
' ' "bitants were earth-dwellers (Theagenes). 


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But if we may take it that Aeacus was indeed a son of the 
soil and ruler of an indigenous population, what can be the true 
inwardness of the myth of Zeus and Aegina ? 

A tempting air of belonging to a primitive stratum of myth 
hangs over those versions of the tale in which Zeus transforms 
himself into an eagle to carry off the maiden, but these are late 
and not traceable to any local tradition". They seem rather to 
be borrowings from the Ganymede story, which supplied so 
popular a motive to later Art*^ Variants of the subject on 
gems, in which a woman instead of a youth caresses or gives 
drink to the eagle*', suggest that in this case the artists 
may have inspired rather than illustrated the mythographers, 
especially as eagles play no other part in Aeginetan tradition". 
On the other hand, the form assumed by Zeus when he carried 
off Europa is that of a creature important in native Cretan 
mythology and hence likely to be drawn into the myths of the 

Though we cannot therefore legitimately compare the rape 
of Aegina with that of Europa, in respect of the metamorphosis 
of Zeus, we find that the legends are otherwise almost identical. 
In both Zeus brings to an island a maiden who becomes by him 
the mother of its first monarch. In both also the island was 
at some period occupied by Achaeans, worshippers of Zeus. 
Can we not complete the parallel, and apply in the case of 
Aeacus an explanation which German scholarship has already 
made acceptable with regard to Minos ? ^. Mtiller has shown 
grounds for holding that the Achaeans found the cult of Minos 

" Athen. xin. 566. Lact. Nau. fab. vi. 1. Not alluded to by Pindar or 
Pausanias. The Phliasians dedicated a group *' Zeus holding Aegina" at 
Olympia, and at Delphi ** a bronze Zeus and with it an image of Aegina,'* Pans, 
v. 22, X. 13. The god appears also under his ordinary form on a vase 
representing the rape of Aegina (figures inscribed), publ. Braun, Ant, Marmor- 
werkef i. 6. 

1* Here again the Eagle does not yet appear in Homer or Pindar. 

13 Berlin Cat. Lippert, Dactyl. Suppl. i. 39. Baspe, Oat. 1312. Miliotti, 
Pierres Gr, PI. 6. 

14 xhe Eagle as "Aeacid badge" seems a fancy of the commentators, though 
Pindar plays on cUcrds and Atds. "They were swifter than eagles" has been said 
of many heroes besides Saul and Jonathan, e.g. the Atreldae, without heraldic 


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already established in Crete, and affiliated him to their own 
Zeus". I would suggest that the same thing happened in 
Aegina ; there also the coming of Zeus is a historical fact which 
finds mythological expression, and the invaders affiliate the 
local Hero to the god whom they bring with them. 

On this hypothesis it is easy to account for the myth taking 
the form of a rape ; the conquerors' god, made in. their image, 
does but exercise the rights of conquest over the goddess of the | 

It is thus that I would harmonise the conflicting elements 
in the story of the birth of Aeacus, who is himself racy of j the 
soil and yet comes to be regarded as the son of ZeuS;, an 
intruder from beyond the sea. 

But a solution which at the outset of the inquiry dissevers 
Aeacus from the race whom he has hitherto been held to 
represent will naturally be received with suspicion unless it can 
be reinforced by independent arguments. I shall plead in its 
favour that it will stand the test of application to every part of 
the Aeacus legend, and not least to that connection with Zeus 
Hellenics which at first sight seems to afford decisive proof of 
his Achaean origin. 

Before discussing the Hellenios myth I wish, as in private 
duty bound, to acknowledge my indebtedness for all that con- 
cerns early Greek religion to the lectures of Professor Ridge way. 
The fact that teaching to which Cambridge students o^ : 
archaeology owe so much has not yet been embodied in booM 
form is my only excuse for making one comprehensive, rathen ■ 
than constant specific reference thereto. \ 


B. The Sacrifice to Zeus Hellenios. ' 

We must now consider the undoubtedly close connection of 
Aeacus with the cult of Zeus in Aegina. Its origin is thus 
narrated by Pausanias, who says that everyone else is in accord 
with the Aeginetan version of the matter ^^ 

^* MythoL der Or, Stammer n. 244. 

i« Pans. n. 29, Frazer's Trans.; Diod. S. iv. 60 ; Isoo. Evag. 8. 


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"A drought had for some time afflicted Greece", and no 
rain fell on Peloponnese or the rest of Greece till they sent 
messengers to Delphi to inquire the cause and to beg for a 
riddance of the evil. The Pythian priestess told them to 
propitiate Zeus, and that, if their prayers were to be answered, 
Aeacus himself must be their intercessor. So from every city 
they sent men to petition Aeacus. And he, by sacrifices and 
prayer to Panhellenian Zeus, procured rain for Greece." 

It was long since pointed out by C. O. Muller*® that this 
title of Zeus, in the sense here indicated, cannot be older than 
the time at which all the Greeks began to be known as Hellenes, 
and that therefore the legend cannot claim very high antiquity 
as it stands. Two of MuUer s conclusions with regard to Zeus 
HellenioSy as he was earlier called^®, appear incontrovertible, 
viz. that he was the tribal god of those clansmen of Achilles 
who (as Thucydides noticed) alone of the Achaeans were called 
Hellenes by Homer*®, and that his cult was brought to Aegina 
by some of these same Hellenes. But perhaps few would 
now accept his conclusion that the legend of the intercession 
of Aeacus arose after the battle of Salamis, in consequence of 
the Aeacids having been then invoked by the assembled 
Greeks *\ Granting that the name Panhellenios may have 
superseded Hellenics for this reason, there is still an unex- 
plained residuum in the legend, viz. the sacrifice for rain. 

Now the Aeginetans, who were justly proud of the prowess 
they displayed at Salamis, believed, as we shall see, that Aeacus 
himself fought for them on that great day ; the battle had its 

^7 Caused by Pelops' murder of Stymphalos, Apollod. in. 12. 6, or the 
murder of Androgeos, Clem. Al. Strom, vi. 

18 Aeginetica (Berl. 1817), p. 18. 

1® Nem, V. 10. Panhellenios first found in Isoo. Evag, 8. 

^ So Dissen ad Nem, v. 10, "Myrmidones quum in Aeginam venissent 
oondiderunt ibi Jovis Hellenii fanum, patrii sibi numinis, cujus religiones 
secum adduxerant.'* 

^1 Pausanias saw a relief at the portal of the Aiakeion representing the 
envoys of the Hellenes. Mtlller thinks this was a monument of the historical 
embassy, because P. does not say it was of archaic style. Surely, as P. seems to 
believe that it dated from the time of Aeacus, its not being archaic would have 
called for remark, and his silence may be read just the other way. 


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own legend of a miraculous apparition ; nor can we reasonably 
suppose that the deliverance wrought by Aeacus from the Mede 
was expressed by a myth of deliverance from drought. 

Is it not more probable that the drought story was already 
venerable by the time of the Persian war, having arisen in 
explanation of some immemorial rite or custom belonging to 
the cult of Zeus Hellenics ? 

That annual or other recurring ceremonies tend to be 
referred to some striking event as cause is a commonplace of 
archaeologists, and moreover, it is generally possible, given the 
striking event, to infer the character of the ceremonies which 
it was intended to explain. It is, for instance, obvious that 
ceremonies which had to be accounted for by a story of 
deliverance from drought would have to do with rain- 

Remembering that Zeus Hellenics was woi-shipped, not in: 
or near the city, but on the highest hill-top of Aegina''^, let us » 
try to throw some light on the character of his cult from the 
analogy of other mountain-cults which were likewise connected 
with stories of drought, or raia-bringing ceremonies. 

The shrine of Zeus Aphesios on a mountain of Megaris was 
directly associated by legend with the sacrifice of Aeacus^l 
Zeus Aphesios was also worshipped in Argos, where Deucalion 
built him a temple on dcfyeidrj from the Flood**. The name; 
Aphesios is translated "the Hurler" by Mr Frazer, but one(' 
does not see why it is not rather "the Discharger" oi.' 
" Releaser," i.e. of the rain ; for the Argive derivation certainly,^, ' 
and the Megarian story apparently, connected it with " letting* . 
go" and not with "hurling." Thus Zeus Aphesios, linked by j 
legend to Zeus Hellenios, would seem akin to Zeus Ombrios, 

^ See Frazer 's note on Pans. I.e. Travellers on the mainland can stiU verify 
the statement of Theophrastus that when clouds settle on Zeus Hellanios in 
Aegina it betokens rain. De Sign. Temp, i. 24. 

^ Paus. I. 44. 9. A tantalising gap in the text leaves the story without 
a point. See Frazer*s note. Conjectures by Lolling, Ephem. 1887, p. 214; 
Panofka, Tod des Skiron und Patroklos; Kayser, Zeitschr,/, Arch. 1848, p. 503; 
Valckenaer, Fleck. Jahrbuch, 1889, p. 819. 

24 Etym. Mag. s.v. 


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who still received sacrifices for rain on Mount Parnes when 
Pausanias wrote, as did also the Zens of Mount Arachnaeus**. 
Now that Zeus Ombrios was originally propitiated with human 
sacrifices appears probable from the story that his temple in 
Elis commemorated the self-immolation of Molpis, a noble 
youth, to procure rain for the land'*, and also from what we 
know of his Arcadian counterpart, Zeus Lycaeus. As late as 
the 2nd century A.D. secret sacrifices were offered on the peak 
of Mount Lycaeus into which Pausanias "did not care to pry*'," 
but his reticence and the tale of Lycaon s sacrifice of a child, 
point to some dark rite surviving there. It was the priest of 
this Zeus as he tells us who was wont to produce rain for 
Arcadia by stirring the surface of a spring on Lycaeus with a 
branch, after offering the "sacrifices enjoined by custom." 
Possibly these words are a euphemism, and denote the same 
secret sacrifices ; in any case the cult of Zeus Lycaeus combined 
rain-making sacrifices and ceremonies with some very grim 
survival, involving the shedding of human blood and perhaps 
even cannibalism. 

Again, the custom annually observed on Mount Pelion, 
of sending up to the shrine of Zeus^ at the summit youths of 
noble family wrapped in the fleeces of freshly killed rams, 
seems to indicate a substitution of animal for human victims, 
the animal's skin being worn in token of exchanged identity''*®. 

We have no direct evidence that the Zeus of Pelion was a 
rain-sender, but we learn that the fleece-wearing youths went 
up to him " at the time of the rising of Sirius," i.e. when the 
baleful influence of the Dog-star, which was supposed to cause 
the fierce heats of early summer, began to fall on the young 

2» Paus. I. 32, n. 25. 

26 Lycophron, Cass, 160. Noble's son sacrificed in drought at Haliartus by 
command of Delphic oracle, Paus. ix. Daughters of Hyacinthos sacrificed by 
Athenians in famine, Apollod. iii. 15. 

27 Paus. vm. 38. 

28 Zeus Aktaeus or Akraeus. Dicaearch. Frag. 60. 8. 

29 Op. substitution of a ram for children of Athamas at sacrifice to Zeus 
Laphystius. Paus. (i. 24. 2) says the sacrifice was to " some god." Perhaps 
not originally to Zeus ? 


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crops, when drought was most dreaded and rain most bene- 

At this same season was ofiered the sacrifice of Aristaeus in 
Ceos, which presents the nearest parallel to that of Aeacus. 
Aristaeus, son of Cyrene, as Aeacus was of Aegina, belongs to a 
very remote past, for from a hero he became a patron god of 
agriculturists before the coming of the Olympians. Later 
legend fathered him on Apollo, just as Aeacus, in my view, was 
fathered on Zeus'®. 

During a terrible pestilence Aristaeus, at the bidding of the 
Delphic oracle, went to Ceos and offered sacrifice " on behalf of 
all the Hellenes" Kara rrjv rov Xeipiov aarpov eTriToXriv, where- 
upon the plague was stayed '^ The god appeased was Zeus 

While the time of this rite, no less than the agricultural 
character of its celebrant, suggests that Ceos like Pelion may 
have had its summer sacrifice to a rain-sending deity, the 
intercession of Aristaeus takes us back to Zeus Hellenics. In 
Ce(3fe as in Aegina recourse is had to a special mediator, one 
who " as a prince had power with God and prevailed." The 
mainspring of such power in early times was not piety butj 
privilege ; those who exercised it did so as claiming some access | 
to the gods which other men had not, and in legends emphasiz-l 
ing the peculiar eflicacy of a hero's sacrifice, may we not see the! 
picturesque expression of his royal or other class prerogative. ? ' 

So the Greeks were told that none but Aeacus coukj ( 
appease Hellenian Zeus^. And so too at another mountain^ 
sacrifice a relic of kingly prerogative lingered till the time ofj 
Pausanias, for it was "the Basilae" who sacrificed yearly on j 
Mount Kronion at Olympia "about the time of the vernal 

so On Aristaeus as averter of plagues, cf. Hesiod, Theog. 917 ; Pind. Pytk. 
IX. 116 ; ApoU. Rh. ii. 608. As patron of agriculture, Verg. Georg. iv. 317 sqq.; 
Plutarch, Amatoria, 14. 

3^ Diodor. IV. 82. (AxiBt&evLs) pwfibv iroi'ffffe fiiyav Aibs'lKfiaioio. Ap. Bh. ii. 622. 

82 Of. Isocrates on the embassy, vofd^ovres 5iA r^s ffvyycvela^ koL t^s 
eiaepelas t^s iKclvov rdxt'^r Slv €vp4<rdai, irapd tCw deuv tuv vapbvTiav KaKuv 
dwaWay^v. Evag. 8. 

33 Paus. VI. 20. 1. 


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It can hardly be doubted that this last-named cult, like all 
those we have noticed, sought to propitiate a sky-god who 
could give or withhold the fertilising rain, and it is significant 
that his name in this instance is not Zeus but Kronos. For we 
have seen that the cult of Zeus Lycaeus, which as recent 
archaeologists have shown, bears every mark of having been 
originally a Kronos-cult, belongs likewise to the type we are 

We notice lastly the cult of Zeus on Mount Ithome. Not 
only was this founded by the eponymous heroine Messene, but 
it was on that account neglected by the Dorians until they 
were visited by a plague of drought^. 

Comparison of these instances seems to jdeld this general 
result : there existed in Greece from the earliest times the cult 
of a male divinity in the sky, who was approached with prayer 
and sacrifice at hill-top altars not only in times of drought but 
annually in Spring or early Summer. The antiquity of his 
worship is evidenced in some cases by the primitive chai*acter 
of its rites, in others by its association with " autochthonous " 
personages, while in all we find its seat to be those remote 
upland districts where survivals of the oldest cults might 
naturally be looked for. 

Nowhere but in Aegina are these cults referred to Achaean 
founders, on the contrary the human sacrifices which belonged 
to at least some of them are represented as abolished in other 
cases by the advent of the Achaeans themselves, or their gods'*, 
when therefore we find that in one instance only, a cult of this 
type bears an Achaean name, the question suggests itself, Was 
the founder or representative of the family who presided over 
this cult an Achaean, or did the Achaeans, after their manner, 
adopt him as an ancestor ? 

Or on the other hand did they, when as we have reason to 
believe they introduced their own Zeus in the room of an older, 

^ Pans. iv. 3. Aristomenes saorifioed prisoners of war to Zens Ithomatas. 
Clem. Alex. ProtrepU p. 86. 

SB Achaean king the first to sacrifice without human victims to Artemis 
Tridaria, Pans. yn. 19. Goat snbstitnted for boy victim by Dionysus, ih. ix. 8. 
Of. stones of Phnzus and HeUe, and of Iphigenia. 


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perhaps nameless divinity**, make over the legend of the 
drought-sacrifice to a hero of their own ? 

If the conclusions I have tried to draw from the birth-story 
of Aeacus are well founded, the latter alternative is of course 
excluded. But the student of Homer and Pindar will urge 
against me the improbability of a famous Achaean house 
becoming universally known by a patronymic derived from 
a different stock. If we may not assert that x^eacus was the 
grandfather of Achilles, what, it will be asked, is the value of 
any genealogy as evidence ? 

Now it is precisely that kind of evidence to which I must 
next appeal, in order to show that it does not tend all one way; 
that while literary tradition following Homer makes Aeacus 
the progenitor of the Peloids, local tradition, reflected only by 
two poets who knew Aegina welP, gives him two sons, Telamon 
and Phocus, whose descendants are not recognized as Aeacids 
in the Iliad, 

A glance at the accompanying table will assist any reader ' 
who may have the requisite patience, to follow the brief sketch \ 
of the house of Aeacus which is necessary at this point. 

The House of Aeacus. 


Asopus f 

Salamis Sciron Aegina = Zeus Harpina \ 

Eyohreus Endeis = Abacus = Psamathe Oenomaus ' 

Glance = Telamon Peleus Phocus Hippodameia = Pelops 

Teucer Ajax Achilles Panopeus Crisus Atreus 

Kings of Cyprus Neoptolemus Epeus Strophius=Anaxibia Agamemnon 
Kings of Epirus 

** Pelasgian divinities nameless, Herod, n. 62. 

^ Pindar and Asius of Samos. For early connection of Samos and Aegina, 
see Miiller, Aegin, iv., Herod, ni. 69. 


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C. The AeacidSy and the Legend of their Dispersal, 

That Aeacus, the most pious of mankind, should wed the 
daughter of a robber like Sciron of Megara, seemed surprising 
to contemporaries of Plutarch^ ; but the critical acumen which 
produced a treatise " De Malignitate Herodoti " here failed to 
I detect the malice that so often colours popular tradition. 
Sciron in the Theseus legend was simply the highwayman who 
kicked helpless travellers off the cliffs to feed a huge sea- 
tortoise, but so was Minos a bloodthirsty tyrant in Athenian 
legend, though in Homer he is a wise law- giver and righteous 
king*®. Whatever may have been the basis of Sciron's power, 
he was strong enough to lay claim to the throne of Megara^, 
and Aeacus, being called upon to arbitrate between him and 
the son of Pandion, awarded the kingship to the latter, but 
command in war to the former ^^ whose daughter Endais** he 
took to wife. The name Endais or Endeis is said to stand for 
eyr/aio^ or eyyeio^i (sc. Oed), being compounded of eV and 
Sa = yrj^, and it is at least interesting to note that the Nymphs 
in Cyprus Were called the Endeides**. 

Besides Telamon and Peleus, whom Pindar calls "the 

tiotable sons of Endais" Aeacus begat '* the mighty lord, 

Phocus." Now Endais, moved to envy because Phocus, the son 

\ of another woman, was his father's favourite, caused Peleus 

i and Telamon to plot his destruction. This rival of Endais was 

^ Theseus z. The Megarians denied that Sciron was a brigand. In their 
yersion he is son-in-law of Ejohrens. 

*• Iliad xra. 450. 

^ He is son of Poseidon, and marries Salamis. Hesych. s.y. Skiras old 
name of Salamis. Strabo, ix. 393. 

« Pans. I. 89. 

^ Though E. is called daughter of Chiron by Philostephanos (Schol. ad II. 
, xTi. 14), this is doubtless through confusion of names and the connection of 
Chiron with Peleus. 

^ Bosoher*s Lex. s v. 

^ Hesych. s.y. I would suggest that Endeis is not a true proper name, but 
another appellation of Aegina herself. In one version Telamon is borne to 
Aeacus in Salamis by Aegina (Argon. Orph. v. 187). For the Earth Goddess as 
mate of mortals, cf. the legend of Demeter and lasion, Odyss. v. 125. 


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none other than a mermaid. For Phocus, the Seal, had been 
borne to Aeacus by Psamathe, the Sand -maiden, "a sister of 
Thetis if the Greeks say true^." Gifted like Thetis with 
Protean powers, Psamathe had tried to baffle her lover by 
taking the form of a seaH. 

Here already we are aware of that murmur and scent of the 
sea which haunt everything Aeginetan. The legend recalls 
West Highland tales of lonely beaches where seal princesses 
slip out of their furry envelopes to dance as white limbed 
maidens in the moonlight, till some wily lad creeps near 
enough to steal one of the sealskins, and so cuts off poor 
Psamathe's retreat, while her sisters, seals once more, flounce 
back into the waves. Doubtless these fancies are world-wide, 
and fisherfolk all round the Seven Seas to-day tell the same 
stories about the strange half-human sea creatures as were 
heard on the Aegean long ago. 

While the capture of Psamathe and birth of Phocus belong 
to a real fairy tale, it is otherwise with the story of his murder), 
for that is a story " with a purpose." The empire of Aeacus 
perished with him ; *' even of his children not one is known to 
have abode in the island," and the Aeginetans endeavoured tcj 
account for this as follows. 

" When Telamon and Peleus challenged Phocus to th 
pentathlon, and it came to the turn of Peleus to heave th 
stone, (for they used a stone instead of a quoit,) he threw arl 
hit Phocus purposely." Phocus was killed by the blow, ai 
" the sons of Endais embarked on a ship and fled. Afterwj 
Telamon, by mouth of herald, denied that he had plotted tli 
death of Phocus. However Aeacus would not suffer him tQJ 
set foot on the island, but bade him plead his defence from the 
deck of a ship, or if he pleased he might make a mole in the* 

« Pans. 1.0. Hes. Theog. 1005. 

*^ Ovid, Met. v. 400. An interesting terra cotta from Aegina, figured in the 
ArckaeoL Zeit. No. 23, p. 76, may very well represent Psamathe and her son, as 
there suggested. A woman, or goddess of rather severe Aphrodite type, crowned 
with mussel shells leans on the shoulder of a youth with Triton-like head, wild 
hair and gloomy expression. He is partly draped with a tufted sealskin. 
Behind him a pillar, or stele. 


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sea and plead from it. So he sailed into what is called the 
Secret Harbour, and set about making a mole by night. The 
mole was completed and remains to our day. But being 
judged not guiltless of Phocus' death, he sailed away the second 
time to Salamis." 

The story thus told by Pausanias, and discreetly hinted at 
by Pindar*', differs from other stories of flight after homicide 
only in having an unusual amount of "local colour" worked 
into it. Even the use of a stone instead of a quoit may be 
attributed to the presence of a " large rough stone " on the 
mound shown to Pausanias as the grave of Phocus. So also 
the curious manner of Telamon's pleading, points to the 
existence in Aegina of a Court similar to that of Phreattys 
at Athens, which was said to have been instituted when 
Teucer pleaded that he was not responsible for the death of 

Of Telamon himself we need only note further that whether 
his place of origin was Aegina or Salamis, he belongs, like 
Aeacus, entirely to the Saronic Gulf^. 

Not so Peleus, who appears in Homer as domiciled far 
\ north in Phthia*^. If we recall his adventures after his banish- 
ment by Aeacus, we are struck by the circumstance that he 
\ twice more becomes a ftigitive after homicide before appearing 
I in Phthia. Having accidentally killed Eurytion son of Irus, 
jlwho had purified him from the blood guilt of Phocus' murder", 
Ihe took refuge with Acastus, the last Minyan king of lolcus. 
' Tempted in vain by the comely Hippolyta to sin against his 


j ^ Nem. V. 14 : 

I aldiofiai fiiya feiweiv iv dlKq, re fi^ KeKLvbwevfUvov^ 

\ irQi 8^ \Itov eifKXia vaaov, koX tIs &y8pas dXKlfiovs 

daifiu)v dir' Olvdvas (Xaffev, (rrdaonat. 
^ Pans. I. 28. " Demosthenes says that if a man banished for involuntary 
\homicide and not yet pardoned by the victim's kin, were accused of another and 
! linvoluntary homicide, he was tried at Phreattys and pled from a ship." See 
1 grazer's note, and cf. Demosth. xxiv. 77, p. 646. Constit. Atk, 67. 
\ ^ Homer does not seem to be aware of his relationship to Peleus. 
j ** Homer never mentions Aegina. Even in the interpolated Catalogue of 
pips it only appears as furnishing a contingent to Diomed. 
I «i Ant. Lib. Lupus. 38. 
I 2 


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host, her lord, he was forced to slay Acastus, whom the revenge- 
ful wanton's calumnies had stirred up to deadly enmity®^. After 
this he betook himself to the wise Chiron and found a home 
in Phthiotis. It is noteworthy that he moves ever northward, 
whereas the actual trend of Achaean immigration would seem 
to have been in the reverse direction. 

We see then that the sole link between Peleus and Aegina 
is a story of the type which so commonly arose in explanation 
of the wanderings of heroes'^, when the days of migration were 
over, and people could no longer understand why any one should 
lead a roving life except for some such cause as banishment**. 

If we can show that this link is itself of the flimsiest, the 
conclusion which we should naturally draw from Homer, viz. 
that Peleus had nothing whatever to do with Aegina, will he 

To show this, it is necessary to follow the fortunes of Phocas 
and his line, but the results may be stated here for the saie 
of clearness. 

I. The traditions of Phocis, corroborated in part by the 
Aeginetans themselves, are incompatible with the story that 
Phocus was murdered in Aegina. 

II. Examination of pedigrees shows that Peleus and Phoc^ 
do not belong to the same generation. 

I. According to the Phocian account, Phocus emigrated 
with a band of followers. "Phocis was named from Phocus, 
son of Omytion at a very remote time. Not many years aftir- 
wards, when a body of Aeginetans under Phocus son of Aeacus 
sailed to the country, the name became general for the whole 
region*^." Again, " Phocus, son of Omytion had gone theie 
a generation before. But whereas in the time of Phocus it was 

» Nem. V. 26. 

68 Other heroes whose migrations were thus accounted for are Oeneut), 
Tydeus father of Diomed, Achaeus son of Xuthus, Aetolus son of Epeuu, 
Tlepolemus, Oxylus. 

^ Is not this dread of the stranger's lot at the root of the *' sea-sorrow " 
of the Odyssey as we have it? Odysseus' love of adventure for adventure's 
sake seems to hreak out as it were in spite of his poet, whose later point of view 
obliges l^im to attribute such wanderings to Divine vengeance. 

56 Paus. X. 1. 10. 


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only the district about Tithorea and Parnassus that was called 
Phocis, in the time of Aeacus the name was extended to the 
whole people, from the borders of the Minyae in Orchomenus 
to Scarphea in Locris*^/' 

Who then was the "other man of the same name" who 
preceded Phocus, son of Aeacus? 

His parentage was not certain, but he was a descendant, 
immediate or remote, of Poseidon''^ His grave, into which 
blood offerings were daily poured, was shown at Tronis in 
Daulis**, and the Phocians were wont to shout his name in 
battle, just as the Thessalians cried " Athene Itonia*. " He 
was said to have healed and married the frenzied Antiope, 
mother of Amphion and Zetbus, whom Dionysus had punished 
with madness^. 

Now if we bear in mind that Minos, Rhadamanthus, Cecrops 
and even Zeus, to mention no others, were cut in two by 
tradition simply in order to harmonise chronological discre- 
pancies, we shall think it more likely that there was one 
original Phocus, than that two immigrants of that name 
settled in the same district in successive generations. 

In this case it is obvious that as soon as the legend of 
Aeacus' descent from the Achaean Zeus obtained, an airopla 
was caused by the equally well-preserved traditions that the 
hero-founder Phocus was descended from Poseidon, and that 
he was the son of Aeacus^. 

Yet we know that Aeacus himself descended from Poseidon 
on his mother s side, and can see in the Poseidonian ancestry 
of Phocus a trace of the original pedigree of the kings of Aegina. 

w Paus. X. 33. 12. 

<^7 Omytion descended from Poseidon through Sisyphus. Phoous himself 
son of Poseidon, Paus. n. 4. 3. 

M Paus. X. 4. 7. 

» lb, X. 1. 10. 

^ lb, IX. 17. 3. "Phoous and Antiope on a Pompeian Wall-painting,*' 
Panofka, Antik. Kram, Winckelsmannsfest, 1866. These two shared one grave 
at Tithorea, and a carious custom of placing earth stolen from the grave of 
Amphion and Zethus thereon is recorded by Paus. l.c. 

^ In Polygnotus' painting of the Fall of Troy "Phocus son of Aeacus** 
appeared as a youth, wearing the ring given him by laseus, who became his 
friend in Phocis. Paus. x. 30. 2. 



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Phociis had two sons, Panopeus and Crisus, who both gave 
their names to places in Phocis*^ Epeus, son of Panopeus, 
was a skilful artist, contriver " with Athene " of the Wooden 
Horse**, and at least one archaic statue attributed to him wasj 
seen by Pausanias®*. This descendant of Aeacus was as notecL] 
for his unwarlike disposition as for skill in the arts"*, but it ii 
not only these traits which mark him as non-Achaean, 
curious epigram of Simonides^, shows that he stood to th 
Atreidae in a relation of humble vassalage, such as chieftaiirfw 
of the conquering race could only have imposed on subjecw- 
allies ; 

^Tffu Tov ovK eOeKovra (f)€p€iv T€TTt/yo^ aeffXov ; 

napvaTrrftaSy Bdxreiv fiiya helirvov 'ETrei^. J 

For Athenaeus explains it thus; "Simonides was training a 
chorus in Carthaia, and he calls the ass which brought way^er 
for him and the chorus, Epeus, because Epeus did this office 
for the Atreidae*' 

II. We come now to the question of chronology. 

The pedigree of the " Phocian " Aeacids is not a mere string 
of names, coined by genealogists who had to fill up blanks in 
their reckoning. Each of its members has his own little local 

Epeus, we see, is contemporary with Agamemnon, and so 
also is Strophius*^, who was father of Pylades by Agamemnon's 

^ Paus. n. 29. Steph. Byz. s.y. Panopeus is known to Homer as founder 
of Phanopeus in Phocis, hunter of the Calydonian hoar, and father of Epeus, 
Iliad xxn. 666. Hesiod caUs Aegle his daughter, fr. 676. He fought for 
Amphitryon against the Telehoans, ApoUod. m. 4. 7. 

<» Odyss. vm. 492. 

•* Wooden Aphrodite at Argos, Paus. n. 19. 

^ He appears in the Iliad as a hoxer, hut admits that he is no great warrior, 
IZ. xxra. 666, 886. '^vtiov deiX&repos was a proverb, Suidas. Lyo. Cass. 94S. 
His soul re-inoamates as a workwoman, Plat. Rep. x. 620. 

^ Ap. Athen. x. 466. So also Eustathius, p. 1323, 66, rbv 'EweToif 
{fdpoipopeTv Tws *ATp«5ats IffTopeT ^nja-lxopos iv t^, ifxrcipe 8' aMy HSup iel 
<l>op4ovTa Albs /coiJpois paffiKewrw. Tyrtaeus compares the Messenians- serving the 
Spartans to asses galled with heavy burdens. Paus. iv. 14. 

^ Founder of the Pythian Amphictyony ; receives Orestes, Pyth, xi. 35, 


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Both Epeus and Strophius are grandsons of Phocus, and 
great-grandsons of Aeacus : thus Aeacus is placed three gene- 
rations before the Trojan War. But if he was the grandfather 
of Achilles, he must of course have belonged to the second 
generation before that event. 

It may be objected that early or late marriages sometimes 
cause an apparent dislocation of generations (as when for 
example a man has sons and grandsons of the same age) and 
that there may have been great disparity of age between the 
sons of Aeacus by different mothers. This solution would work 
very well if it were possible to regard Phocus as many years 
senior to his brothers, for in that case he might quite con- 
ceivably have had a nephew (Achilles) younger than his grand- 
sons (Epeus and Strophius). 

But the whole tenour of tradition early and late goes to 
make Phocus the youngest son of Aeacus^. 

Hence we have to account for the third generation of the 
younger branch of the Aeacids reaching maturity before the 
second generation of the elder branch. 

Unless we resort to the desperate expedient of making 
Peleus already an old man at the time of his marriage with 
Thetis it is impossible, I submit, to place Achilles only two 
generations below Aeacus. 

We are led then to reject either the Phocus or the Peleus 
pedigree. The former, as preserved by Asius of Samos®^, is 
endorsed by the local traditions of Phocis, a district where no 
later connection with Aegina existed to afford a motive for 
inventing it. The latter on the contrary supplied a want and 
served a purpose, and is so far discredited in advance. 

More than one historian has remarked the Greek fondness 
for bridging over changes of djmasty by pretended wardships, 
regencies, or adoption of heirs by a childless sovereign. This 
love of continuity is strikingly exhibited in the so-called 
** Return of the Heraclids," when the new rulers, unable to 

According to Pans. (n. 29), Pylades plotted the death of Neoptolexuns to avenge 
his kinsman Phocus. 

^8 Telamon is the eldest, Ov. Met, vn. 

^ Quoted by Pausanias, n. 29. 


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serve themselves heirs to the reigning house they dispossessed , 
asserted their descent from former monarchs of the land. But 
there is an Achaean instance not less remarkable than the 
Dorian, according to Duncker'®. When Achaean princes claim- 
ing descent from Agamemnon won themselves kingdoms in 
Asia Minor, they fathered their ancestor Pelops on the Lydian 

Since we know that the Achaeans who held Aegina were 
Myrmidons and Hellenes, may we not plausibly conjecture that 
they too desired to link on their own hero Peleus to the 
autochthonous dynasty and thus represent themselves as re- 
turning to their inheritance ? 

If so, the next step would be to account for Peleus having 
lived and died in Phthia, instead of succeeding his father, by 
some legend which might also discreetly intimate the downfall 
of the old royal house in Aegina. 

Hence the story of the dispersal of the Aeacids, and hence 
the pedigree which, having made its way into the Iliady needed 
no more to gain devout and universal acceptance. 

The Phocian traditions above cited lead us to surmise that 
a real emigration under princes of the native stock followed the 
Achaean occupation of Aegina. 

No one disputes that there was such an occupation, but no 
one has hitherto questioned that Aeacus was its representative. 
If, on the contrary, we place it after his reign, we have at least 
a working hypothesis which reconciles the contradictions in the 
legends of his kingship and of the exodus of his children. 

The survey attempted in this section would be incomplete 
without a brief resum^ of the traditional features of Aegina's 
Golden Age. 

Pindar takes delight in recalling the legends of her early 
ascendency and the deference shown to Aeacus by neighbouring 
states, some of which in a degenerate age lifted up their heel 
against her'^. Various traditions represent Aeacus as a treaty- 

'® Hist, Greece, vol. i. oh. v. 

^ Nem, vni. 5. Isth, vn. 25 seems to refer to a lost legend; doufidvetrffi dUas 
iirelpaufe, " lites componebat " (Bury). 


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maker, arbitrator, temple builder^, discoverer of gold", and 
inventor of coinage. 

Aegina from the nature of things can never have been im- 
portant except as a maritime power, and stories of her early 
seamanship go hand in hand with those of the defences con- 
trived by Aeacus for the island '^ The interesting myth of the 
viiith Olympian Ode, in which he is summoned by Poseidon 
and Apollo to aid in building the walls of Troy may well have 
been inspired by local tradition, for it does not occur elsewhere, 
and Pindar, after his manner in Aeginetan Odes, lightly passes 
over as familiar ground what must remain for us terra incognita. 
We cannot say what associations were called up for Aeginetan 
hearers by the picture of Poseidon speeding Aeacus homeward 
in his seaborne car, but we remember that the god had once 
possessed Aegina, and that Zeus it was who ousted him'^ We 
know also that Aegina belonged to the maritime League which 
had its headquarters in Poseidon's ancient sanctuary of Ca- 
lauria'^ Since the Achaean element is conspicuously absent 
from the remaining cities of the League, and its Patron was 
the defeated rival of Zeus Hellenics, may we not infer that 
Aegina belonged to it in pre-Achaean times ? If so, the begin- 
nings of her sea-power may date from the days of Aeacus, and 
there is point in the episode of his voyaging under the auspices 
of Poseidon. 

Whatever were its other characteristics, all traditions agree 
that the reign of Aeacus was one of unbroken peace^. Unlike 
Achaean sovereigns, he never engages in war or conflict of any 

^ First temple of Zeus in Arcadia, Serv. Aen. viii. 862. But see n. 9. 

^ Cassiodor. Varide iv. "Inventor nummorum," Pliny vn. 86. 

7^ On the natural and artificial defences of Aegina, see Paus. n. 29, and 
Frazer's note. Aeginetans made the first ships, Hesiod /r. 96, Einkel. Hero- 
dotus says Minos was the first known to possess naval supremacy (iii. 120). It 
is precisely to his empire that I would compare the lesser one of Aeacus in the 
same age. 

'5 Plut. QuaetU Graec. ix. 6, p. 741. The reading however is doubtful. 

'* Strabo vni. 34. The other members were Hermione, Epidaurus, Athens, 
Prasiae, Nauplia, Orchomenus. 

'^ Except the egregious Nonnus, Dionysiac xm. v. 214. Minos sought aid 
at Aegina before invading Attica, but was repulsed by Aeacus who declared his 
friendship for the Cecropidae. Ov. Met, vii. 


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kind. In turning to the history of his alleged descendants we 
enter a new world, we pass from the king who rules by long 
descended right divine to the knight-errant who carves out 
kingdoms with his sword. It is to the serene age of Aeacus 
that one involuntarily refers the delicate art of the Aeginetan 
treasure now in the British Museum '^ found perhaps (for we 
are denied certainty on the point) in the shaft-graves of some 
"Mycenaean" acropolis. In Aegina, as at Mycenae, the old 
order changes abruptly and the rest is silence; we can but 
divine the intervention of a sudden hand writing Mene, mene, 
across the so brilliant record of an early civilisation. But that 
the sceptre did not depart from Aeacus in his lifetime seems 
manifest from the story of his cult, to which we shall now 

'^ First described by Mr Evans, Joum. Hellen. Studies^ 1893. 


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Grave and Cult of Abacus. 

Professor Ridgeway has recently shewn^ that two distinct 
and opposed conceptions of the life after death prevailed in 
ancient Greece, two sets of beliefs concomitant with two different 
modes of disposing of the dead, viz. burial and cremation. 

He has adduced a great mass of evidence going to prove 
that the latter usage belonged to the Northern race whom we 
know as Achaeans in Homer, and the former to those earliest 
dwellers in the land who are called Pelasgi by Herodotus and 

I wish to shew that if his conclusions are well founded, it 
follows that Aeacus belongs to the Pelasgic area of faith and 

The Aiakeion lay in the most conspicuous part of the city 
of Aegina^. Within it had once stood the statues of Olympian, 
Pythian, and Nemean^^ victors, whose more enduring memorials 
were wrought in the gold of Pindar's sumptuous Odes. When 
Pausanias saw it, it consisted of a quadrangular enclosure of 
white marble, within which grew ancient olives. At the portal, 
a relief represented the Envoys of the Hellenes. Within the 
precinct stood a low altar, and it was told as a secret that this 
was the Grave of Aeacus. The secret was doubtless an open 
one by that time, or the pious Pausanias would hardly have 
divulged it. It did not matter to any one after the national 
glory had departed, where the national hero lay, but if only 
that worthy sightseer could have survived to read Mr Frazer's 
Commentary on his Travels, he would have recognised an 
ancient State talisman in that altar-tomb. 

7B Two Lectures delivered in Cambridge, 1899, on " Inhumation, Cremation, 
and the Soul." 

80 Paus. n. 29. 6. 

8J That of Themistius crowned with grass and flowers, Nem, v. 63, 


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There were several secret graves in Greece, notably those of 
Oedipus*^, Neleus**^, Sisyphus, and Dirce". They were jealously 
concealed from the general eye in the belief that the welfare of 
the State depended on their remaining intact. For, in these 
cases, the dead man was thought of as residing in his grave, 
" present to help, potent to save " ; he received offerings, not 
burnt, but actually conveyed into, or placed upon the tomb, and 
in return he could bless in peace and succour in war, so long as 
he remained there. But the dead were not apparently con- 
sidered to be any exception to the rule that every man has his 
price. A dead warrior, even if his bones could not be stolen, or 
his grave tampered with, might yet be bribed by honours and 
rich offerings to dwell with the enemy ; the fidelity of Aeacus 
himself was thus attempted. 

The Thebans, says Herodotus**, being bidden by the Pythian 
Oracle to "seek help from their nearest" in their war with 
Athens, and aware that their neighbours were already their 
zealous allies, bethought themselves that the divine injunction 
must refer to the Aeginetans, who were their near kin mytho- 
logically speaking, since Thebe and Aegina were both daughters 
of Asopus. The Aeginetans, thus appealed to, " sent them the 
Aeacids," but the Thebans were routed in an engagement which 
they fought Kara rrjv t&v AlatciB&v a-vfifULxiav, and forthwith 
returned the heroes, asking for men instead. 

Herodotus simply says "the Aeacids" were sent, and gives 
us no clue as to whether this remarkable loan consisted of 
images or of actual relics. In like manner he speaks of " the 
Tyndaridae" being taken out to war by the Spartan kings®*. 
Somewhat analogous are stories of the presence of certain 

88 Oed, Col. 1618—1634, 1760—1766. Arist. Orat, xlvi. vol. 2, p. 230 

88 That of Neleus not shown by Sisyphus even to Nestor, and Sisyphus' 
known to few, Eumelus ap. Paus. n. 2. 

^ Secret of Dirce's grave communicated by general of cavalry to his suc- 
cessor. Pint. De genio Socrat. 6. That of Hippolytus at Troezen also secret, 
Paus. n. 31. 

M Bk. vm. 80. 

w Bk. V. 76. 




objects being necessary for the taking of a besieged place ^, but 
though these objects seem always charged, so to speak, with a 
deceased hero's fighting force, they are not always part of his 
mortal remains. 

Equally uncertain is it who, or how many, these " Aeacids" 
were. Since, as Mayne puts it, "worship of every ancestor 
precedes that of the distinguished ancestor," is it not possible 
that the term included ascendants as well as descendants of 
Aeacus ? We have seen reason to regard him as representing 
a dynasty wealthy and long-established, and earlier kings of his 
house may have continued to receive their ancient dues under 
a general designation long after their individual names had 

Every reader of Homer and Pindar will probably take for 
granted that Peleus, Achilles, Neoptolemus, Telamon and Ajax 
were among these champions. Adolf Holm even remarks®* 
that the connection of Ajax with Athens may have weakened 
his eflfectiveness as a Theban ally. But he overlooks the fact 
that neither Telamon nor Ajax was sent from Aegina to the 
fleet at Salamis. Before the great sea-fight the Greeks offered 
prayers to all the gods, and they summoned to their aid 
Telamon and Ajax " on the spot" but sent a ship to Aegina to 
fetch Aeacus and the other Aeacids^. It was as genius loci, 
not as an Aeginetan, that Ajax received one of the three 
Phoenician triremes dedicated after the victory**. Again, there 
is no evidence that Peleus or his descendants were worshipped 
in Aegina. Their graves and the places where their honour 
dwelt were elsewhere. Probably only Aeacids whose tombs 
were in Aegina were thought of as still her guardians, and 
only such are here referred to. 

But whoever the other champions sent to the Thebans and 
later to Salamis may have been, it is certain that Aeacus him- 

^ Shoulder-blade of Pelops as well as the bows and arrows of Heracles 
necessary for the capture of Troj, Paus. v. 13. On relics of heroes as politically 
important, see Appendix A. 

88 HUt, of Greece, vol. i. p. 427. 

w Herod, vm. 64. 

^ lb, viu. 92, 121. Image of Ajax at Salamis, Paus. i. 35. 3. 


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self led that contingent. His importance as warden of Aegina 
is brought out by the events which followed his being lent to 

The Aeginetans, mindful of their ancient feud with Athens, 
not only sent reinforcements to the Thebans, but harried the 
coast of Attica. While the Athenians were preparing to re- 
taliate, an oracle came to them from Delphi that if they waited 
thirty years to attack Aegina, and then set apart a precinct for 
Aeacus they would succeed according to their wish ; if on the 
other hand they began hostilities at once, they would suflFer as 
well as inflict reverses, but would overcome at the last. On 
hearing this the Athenians, though unable to refrain from 
instant leprisals, so far obeyed the oracle that they consecrated 
for Aeacus the precinct which was still to be seen when 
Herodotus wrote. 

We may compare with this the action of Oleisthenes of 
Sicyon, when he wished to expel the hero Adrastus. As the 
Delphic oracle would give him no advice, he resolved to import 
a rival, Melanippus, who was the bitter foe of Adrastus in his 
life-time, by giving him a precinct in the Prytaneum at Sicyon 
and transferring to him the sacrifices and feasts of Adrastus®*. 
The quaint materialism of this proceeding was doubtless 
paralleled at Athens when the attempt was made to bribe 
Aeacus into dwelling there®*. 

If we now turn from Herodotus to Pindar we meet with the 
cult of Aeacus under a wholly diflferent aspect. The former 
recounts the hero's posthumous exploits, the latter celebrates 
only his power and piety while on earth. Even in the viith 
Isthmian Ode, written for an Aeginetan and soon after Salarais, 
though the myth opens with the birth of Aeacus, he is rapidly 
passed over, and it is Achilles who is called oipo^ AlaKcBav and 
who " lifts to heaven's light Aegina and the root of Aeacus" by 
slaying Eastern foes. Again, in the ivth Isthmian occurs the 
well-known allusion to Aeginetan prowess — koI vvv iv "Kpec 

« Herod, v. 67. 

^ Cf. Hesjch. kloKWiv, ov <fnj(nv Alaxbv oUrjaai,^ kBiivriffi, koX rb Alaxov rifACPOS* 
On ** evocatio *^ of the gods of an enemy's town by promising them honours, see 
Macrobius, Satumal, ni. 9. 


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fjLapTvpi](rac kcv ttoXc^ AXavro^ 6p6(o6elaa vavTat^^ iv iroky- 
if>06p<p ^aXa/M^: A£09 8fi^p<p, 

But we should never guess from Pindar's words that the 
first ship to face the "storm of Zeus" carried ghostly warriors 
as well as "the Sailors" who saved Greece. There is no hint 
of the conception so prominent in the narrative of Herodotus, 
of the dead Hero still abiding in his own city and coming forth 
to fight her battles in the ranks of the living. And it needs 
only the witness of the Odes themselves to convince one that 
this conception was as foreign to the Dorian genius as to the 
Achaean, that for Pindar, as for Homer, there is a great gulf 
fixed between the living and the dead**. 

We find indeed that Pindar invokes Aeacus as well as Zeus 
when dark days are at hand for Aegina^, but he prays to both 
alike as to dwellers in another sphere, remote and serene. 

Not close at hand beneath their native earth but in far-oflf 
realms of light dwell the spirits of just men made perfect; 
there Rhadamanthus keeps his state beside his father Kronos"*, 
and thither doubtless Aeacus also passed to his reward. 

Nor can it be argued that the loftier conception of Pindar 
has been evolved and etherealised from that which we have 
seen underlying the cult of Aeacus ; since we find the two 
existing at one and the same time. The ideas of the people 
who offered food and drink to their dead, and tried to entice 
the spirits of heroes with feasts and sacrifices, are the ideas of 
Aeschylus'^ ; they are indeed the very mainspring of his solemn 
trilogy, and especially of the Choephoroe, There is a striking 
contrast between Electra's prayers at her father's tomb and 
the supplications put up by Pindar to the Aeacids. In both 
the dead are implored to protect their own, in both an earnest 

** rj Twf AiyiPTiTtov dper^. Schol. 

•^ icaraic/MJxTci 8* oi Kbm <rvyy6p(av Kcdpdv x^P^"* y^t the dead are far away^ 
and Echo or Angelia must bear the news of victory to the Hoase of Persephone, 
01, vm. 80, XIV. 21. 
»» Nem, vm. 13. 
•« 01. n. 83. 

^ OP. o^(a ydp dv (rot daires (^pvo/xoi pporCov 

KTij^oiar' €l d^ fi-ff, trap eitdelirvois itret 
arifios ifiin^poKri KPt(rioTo?i \dop6S' Ckoeph, 483, 


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personal note is struck, for Pindar's anxious sympathy gives 
the eflfect of true tragic emphasis. But the cardinal distinction 
is this, the prayers are the prayers of diflferent creeds; the 
Dorian poet addresses a saint in glory, the Athenian an earth- 
bound ghost. In Pindar, the Patron of Aegina has "out-soared 
the shadow of our night," in Aeschylus, we feel that Agamem- 
non is only just underground, nor would it surprise us, if like 
the Ghost in Hamlet ^ he made his voice heard from beneath 
the stage. Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra are represented in 
successive Acts of one great Drama as still poignantly affected 
by events in the upper world, but it is never suggested by 
Pindar that the Aeacids view the peril of Aegina with dis- 

To the question, why does he then invoke Aeacus at all, 
I think the answer is that he approaches him as almost, if not 
wholly, divine, not subject to the limitations of mortals but 
able to take a kindly, somewhat unimpassioned interest in the 
city so closely associated with his fame. And while the Dorian 
oligarchs, like their poet, venerated in Aeacus the glorified 
progenitor of Achilles, his actual cult, as we see it in Herodotus, 
is simply the worship of the local Hero, still powerful in his 
grave, which originated with that older population whom the 
Dorians allowed to remain in the island^. 

98 Pans. n. 29. 6. 


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Abacus in Hades. 

In the preceding Section I endeavoured to distinguish what 
I will venture to call the Pelasgic from the Achaeo-Dorian 
elements in the canonisation of Aeacus ; it remains to inquire 
how far either or both of these contributed to invest him with 
the crowning dignity of Judge in the Underworld. It is of 
course beyond the scope and limits of this Essay to discuss 
the genesis of the idea of future rewards and punishments. 
But it will be convenient to take a rapid survey of what Greek 
literature from Homer to Plato tells of the World to come, in 
order to note when and where that idea took definite shape 
as a Last Judgment pronounced by one or more Judges of 

Homer's Yonder World, 

There is not in Homer so much as the germ of the con- 
ception which in its fullest development led Socrates to hope 
for a tribunal where earthly wrong should be repaired. Those 
pathetic expressions d/ievrjva Kciprjvay ecBcoXa KafiovrcoVy a-Kial, 
which ring like little passing-bells amid the battle-music of 
the Hiad, sufficiently forbid the thought of right and wrong 
surviving in a world of dream-shadows. It is but the ^' souls " 
of the heroes that enter the dim house of Hades, " they them- 
selves," who lived such full-blooded lives in the warm light of 
day, exist no more save as a prey for dogs and birds. The 
famous and hopeless words of Achilles in the "Nekuia®^" shew 
clearly enough that to Homer's Greeks Death was itself the 
supreme penalty, the most bitter drop in the cup of human 
anguish, but also the last. For what further punishment was 

dvdpi Tap' iKX-ffpifiy y fx^ ftioros ToKifS cfi; 

Tj iroLffiv v€K^€<r<n KaTat/>difi4voi0'i fkudcffeiy, Od, xi. 489. 


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conceivable when consciousness had ebbed to a dim fleeting 
dream ^% and could only be revived for a while by draughts 
of fresh life-blood ? The true Homeric Hades is peopled only 
by drifting shadows — tenues sine corpore vitae — like the shapes 
Vergil's summoning art conjures up for us round Aeneas as he 
goes sword in hand through the " niggard light " of Avernus. 

It must strike every reader of the xith book of the Odyssey 
that the concluding part represents a different yond er- world ^°^. 
Its denizens, unlike Achilles and his peers, are busied in the 
pursuits they followed on earth, Minos as a judge, Orion as a 
hunter, and so on. 

I would submit that this idea of the life after death as a 
(perhaps fainter) replica of earthly existence, was not evolved 
from the Homeric conception of phantasmal survival, but had 
an independent origin, and that this " Pseudo-Nekuia," however 
late an interpolation, may represent a stratum of thought more 
primitive than Homer's. 

For is it not exactly this "replica" theory that we have 
seen associated with the cult of the dead and the practice of 
burial ? The dead man who still has consciousness, and power 
for good and evil, who still needs food, drink and raiment, has 
also joys and sorrows, interests and occupations in his last 
home. It can hardly be by a mere coincidence that the six 
personages who appear in the later Nekuia all belong to non- 
Achaean cycles of legend. Whoever brought this book of the 
Odyssey into its present form has gathered upon one scene 
the figures of two mythologies, just as Polygnotus did in his 
Lesche painting of Hades. 

Remembering that the framework and scene of the " Pseudo- 
Nekuia " is still the Homeric Hades, we shall not be surprised 
to find no hint of any commerce between dead and living, and 
consequently, no worship of the dead. Nor is there any trace 

100 Teiresias is a carious exception, — 

ToC T€ ipphes ifiireiol elauf 
T(p Kol redpTfioTi vbov xbpe HepaeipSpeia 
oi(fi ireinf vffOai* toI di (TKial Hffaovauf, Od, x. 493. 
Joi U. 668—630. Wilamowitz (Horn. Untersuch. 199 sq.) holds that this 
portion was composed under Orphic influence. 


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of punishment after death. The torments of Tityns, Sisjrphus, 
and Tantalus, as we know, were first suffered on earth, and 
though they were thus early transferred to Hades, we must 
not think of it as already a place of retribution, but merely 
as reflecting a former existence ^^. No judgment is pronounced 
there on deeds done in the body, though we see Minos 

'Xpvo'eov (TKYJiTTpov c^ovTa 0€fic<TT€vovTa veKvaaiv 
ijfievov ol Be fiiv a/ii(f)l Si/ca<; eXpovro fdvaKTa 
i]fi€voi karaore^ t€ fcar evpvTrvXe^ "AftSo? B&. 

This picture is clearly that of a king dispensing justice as he 
did on earth, and of an Underworld where it was still possible 
to go to law with your neighbour. 

Of the other judges, Rhadamanthus is not in Hades but in 
Elysium, while Triptolemus and Aeacus do not appear at all. 


We may next inquire of one, who, if Homer is to be called 
the Bible of the Greeks, might perhaps be styled the Milton of 
their theology, " What he has to say of Paradise Regained ? " 

It is of course from the great Olympian Ode composed for 
Theron when he had not long to live, and from the fragments 
of a Threnos, that we have to interpret Pindar s views of the 
future life. They are especially interesting to us as those of 
the poet of the Dorian community in Aegina. Doubtless 
following Homer, he places Rhadamanthus in Elysium, as 
irdpeBpo^ of his father Kronos, but not as Judge, for of such 
there is obviously no need among the blessed ^^'. The entire 
absence from the Odes of any reference to the Underworld 
honours of Aeacus has already been noticed. His compeers 
Minos and Triptolemus are not named. 

As regards the Soul and its destiny the advance of thought 
reflected by Pindar's poetry is of course great. The opposed 

^^ Ixion, whose wheel once hung in upper air^ is first placed in Hades by 
ApoU. Rhod. 

^^ 01. II. 83. This seems to be overlooked by Gildersleeve, who takes 
fcard 7^s diicdi'ei res (1. 65) of Bhadamanthus. Besides, there is nothing to show 
that Pindar, any more than Homer, placed the Isles of the Blest /card yrj^. 



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conceptions above spoken of are reconciled and merged in a 
higher one. On the one hand, colour, fragrance, and delight 
do not cease with earthly life, for Elysium has got into Hades ; 
suflFering too has entered there, such as the eye shrinks from 
beholding. On the other hand the conditions of this life with 
its various social order, its web of mingled good and ill, are no 
longer reproduced. No longer does the hunter follow the 
chase, the king give judgment ; we hear but of two classes, 
the iaXoX who lead a tearless life, and those others of whom 
it were not well to speak much. 

A passage in the Second Olympian Ode indicates clearly 
that Pindar held the doctrine prevalent in the Greater Greece 
of his day, of the soul's re-incarnation with intervals of pro- 
bation in a disembodied state. " Earth and Hades," as Gilder- 
sleeve tersely puts it, " are mutual Hells^®* " — 

dav6vT(ov fiev ivOdS^ avriK airakafJiVOL <^peve^, 
7roLva<; eTiaav, rd S' iv raBe A409 apx« 
aXiTpa Kara 709 Si/cd^ei tl^ ^X^P^ 
\6yov ^patrai^ dvarfKa. 

Here the notion of One who judges beneath the Earth is 
intimately linked with teaching in which, it has been said^^, 
we cannot distinguish the Orphic and Pythagorean from the 
Bacchic elements, and it seems clear that the same system of 
doctrine largely influenced Plato's eschatology. 


For the researches of Dieterich and Dering leave no doubt 
that the eschatological myths of Plato formr one harmonious 
whole — *' the Divina Commedia of the ancient world " — ^reflect- 
ing with marvellous fidelity the imagery of the Mysteries and 
the tenets of Pythagoras. Now Pindar, who drew inspiration 
from the same sources, seems in the passage above quoted to 
combine two distinct theories as to the soul's probation (1) that 

iM Note on Oh n. See Mezger on the same passage. 

106 Dieterich*s Nekuia, p. 109. See also A. Dering, in Arckiv far Geseh, d, 
Fhilos, VI. 1893-4, p. 475. 


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it consisted in life itself, or successive lives : (2) that it took 
place after death, beneath the Earth. Plato's myths depict 
both modes of probation, but the mysterious- tribunal of Pindar 
now materialises as a group of Judges. Bidding farewell to 
the doctrine of re-incarnation, which involved no personal 
arbiter of the souUs destiny, since after one free choice, good 
or evil conduct in each life determined its lot in the next, let 
us turn to Plato's presentment of the Underworld as a place 
of judgment. 

I. PhaedruSy 248 sqq. 

We read in the Phaedrus how the soul which fails stead- 
fastly to follow the Godhead sinks to earth Xr}07)(; re kol KaKla<; 
irXrjadelaay and incarnates in one of nine orders of human 
existence. Thus earthly life results from a Fall, and is a kind 
of Purgatory. But the other tjrpe of probation is also described; 
after the first life comes a Judgment of the Dead. Some souls 
suffer punishment in ra viro yrj^ Bt/caicoTTjpta, others, being 
acquitted, are rewarded in a certain heavenly place according 
to their deserts. No judges are mentioned. 

II. Republic y 614 b sqq. 

At the end of the Republic^ a fuller account of this Judg- 
ment is given in the Vision of Er, a brave Pamphylian who was 
killed in battle, but came to life after twelve days and related 
what he had seen. He had been to a place where were four 
gaps or chasms, two leading into the Earth and two into 
Heaven. Here sit certain Judges, who send the good to the 
right upwards towards Heaven, but the wicked to the left 
downwards. These Judges fasten to the good souls tokens of 
their verdict concerning them and to the evil also visible 
tokens of all that they have committed. 

III. Oorgias, 533. 

It is in the Oorgias that Plato names these Judges. 

Here Socrates tells the following story about the origin of 
Judgment after Death, which, he premises, is not a fiv0o<; but a 
\6yo^', 0)9 aXr)07j yap ovra aoc Xe^co a /liXXco XeyeLV* 



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Zeus, Poseidon and Pluto, as Homer says, divided the king- 
dom of their father Kronos. In his time a law which still 
holds among the gods prevailed among men, that he who lived 
in holiness and righteousness should pass at death to the Isles 
of the Blest, there to dwell in perfect felicity, but the unjust 
and godless should go to the dungeon called Tartarus. Now 
when first Zeus sat on the throne of Kronos, the final judgment 
was pronounced on a man while he yet lived, on the day of his 
death, by living judges; but their sentences were not according 
to right. So both Pluto and the overseers of the Happy Islands 
complained to Zeus that the wrong people were sent to them. 
Zeus resolved to put a stop to this miscarriage of justice, which 
he said was owing to the judges being led away by the beauty, 
rank and wealth of evil souls, and by the multitude of their 
false witnesses. He decreed that men should no longer know 
their appointed death-day, and should receive sentence in the 
next world, from a judge who had also departed this life, in 
order that both parties might be stripped of every disguise, and 
soul come face to face with soul. With this end in view he had 
already made judges of his sons, two from Asia, Minos and 
Rhadamanthus, and one from Europe, Aeacus; and he announced 
that on their deaths Rhadamanthus should judge Asiatic, 
and Aeacus European, souls. To Minos he would give the 
privilege of deciding doubtful cases. The judgment should 
be iv Tc5 Xeifi&viy iv rrj rpioBtpf i^ rj^ <f)€p€TOv tq) oSo), tJ fiev €t9 
/jutKapcDv v^tTov^, rj B' e/? Tdprapov, 

Thus should perfectly just decisions be secured irepl 7^9 
iropeia^ to?9 dv6pwiroL<;, 

Having thus explained the origin of Judgment in Hades, 
Socrates goes into some of its details. 

The naked souls of sinners bear tokens of their guilt (not 
imposed by the Judges but intended to be read by them) in 
the shape of weals and scars. Each judge bears a staflF, but 
that of Minos is a golden sceptre, just as Homer describes. 
The tale concludes with a warning to the hearers to prepare 
themselves duly for the tribunal of "the Judge, the son of 

It is time to trace if we can the steps of the transition from 


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the "dread indefiniteness " of Pindar to the semi-historical 
Judges of Plato. To say with some that Aeacus and the rest 
are simply chosen as types of incorruptible justice ^^ is to over- 
look the fidelity to tradition shown even in trifling details by 
the myths in question; moreover, all four Judges are mentioned 
in the Apology in terms which imply that their Underworld 
office was already a matter of popular belief ^^. 

When and how did such a belief arise ? 

Returning for a moment to Pindar*s ^'ZiKd^ei Tt9," let us ask 
if any other poet of his age speaks of judgment to come, and 
if so in what surroundings and by whom pronounced. Two 
passages of Aeschylus answer with no uncertain sound. In the 
Supplices it is said that punishment for some crimes cannot be 
evaded even in Hades ; 

KCLKel SiKa^ev Ta^irXaKrjfiaO^ , <09 X0709, 
Zt€v<i a\Xo9 iv Kajiovacv va-rdraf; SUaf;^^, 

And in the Eumenides, Orestes is thus menaced — 

Kol i^&vrd a la-xvavatr dird^oixaL Kara),,, 

o^lrev Bk K€L T49 aX\o9 rj\LT€V ^poT&v 

fj Oeov rj ^evov 

Tcv dae^&v fj ro/cea^ (f>tkov^, 

€xov0^ eKCUTTov T)j9 StAC^9 hrd^ia, — 

fjueya^ yap '^AcSff^ itrrlv evOvvo^ fipoT&v 

€P€p0€ %^OI/69, 

S€\Toypd<f)(p S^ irdvT hrcnTra tppevi^^. 

Now the expression "<09 \6709" seems to be always used by 
Aeschylus with reference to well-known tradition"^ so that 
from the first of these passages we may fairly infer that the 
Athenians of his day were already familiar with the thought of 
a great Justicer in the Underworld, while the second, which 
significantly enumerates oflFences against the gods, guest-right, 

i®« This seems to be Rohde's view, Psyche^ p. 286. 

^^ ot T€p X^ovTou iK€i dticdi'eo^, p. 41 a. 

i<« Suppl 230. 

iw Eumen. 269. 

"• Cf. Eumen. 4, Suppl 296. 


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and parents as crimes of which he takes cognisance, identifies 
him with Hades. 

Although this " other Zeus ** is indiflFerently called Hades 
and Pluto by the dramatists"^, the two names of course express 
diflFerent conceptions"^; Hades is the invisible Death-god, not 
necessarily chthonian, while Pluto is of the Earth earthy, and 
as such associated with Uemeter and the Kore. Unlike the 
grimmer Hades, he has to do with Life as well as Death, for in 
his treasury germinate the seeds of com, and the word 
7rXoi)T09 once specially denoted the riches of harvest ^^. Thus 
it was as a true i7wderworld power that he became the Ruler 
of the departed, who dwell with him beneath the Earth. We 
have already noted that there is no place for judgment of souls 
in the abode of the Homeric Hades, and that Pindar and 
Aeschylus speak of this judgment being pronounced evepOe 7^9, 
or KaTa ^a^. Clearly then it is Pluto to whom they refer in 
the passages cited, and it becomes very interesting to notice 
that Kore also, and in her own right so to say, has a place on 
the judgment-seat"*. For we thus see that the first Judges of 
the Soul were the Powers of Earth, just as its earliest accuser 
was " blood crying from the ground " and its earliest sense of 
guilt so closely connected with the idea of Earth's pollution by 
murder done. 

It appears then that the mortals who at a later time held 
this office of Pluto must have done so as his delegates, and we 
naturally look for some connecting link between him and 
Aeacus. This is at once forthcoming in the tradition with 
which Isocrates concludes his encomium on the hero ; iTrecSij 
T€ fierrjKKa^e rov filov XeyeraL irapa \lkovTO)vt> koX Koprj fjieyla-^ 

^^^ Pluto invoked with ivodia deds, Antig, 1200; Aidoneus with r^ d^oi^ 
0€6v, 0. C, 1566; Hades with Hecate, 0. T, 30. 

^^^ Gf. He3me, Apollod,, for different spheres of use of the names. 

"• Hiy iK T(av KpidQv koX tup xvpw wepioviriay, Hesyoh. s. €(hr\ovTOP kovoOp, 

^^* In the Pindar threnos fragment (133) Persephone decides when the soal*8 
purification is complete, and to her is addressed the prayer which, engraved on 
gold, was buried with the initiated in the tombs of Thurii and Petelia. 
Dieterioh, Nek, p. 84. On one Underworld Vase she is throned alone, Pluto and 
Hecate stand beside her. Winckler, Unterwelt auf Unt, ItcU, Vasen, See also 
Berlin Cat. Vases, n. 1844. 


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Ta? TCfia^ €Xo>v irapeZpeveiv iK€ivoc<;^^\ So too ApoUodorus says 
of him, TifJbdTai he /cal irapa YVKovtcovi T€\€VTi](ra^ AlaKo^y koI 

Here we have, I venture to submit, the clue to the origin 
of the Judgeship of Aeacus, and also of his second Underworld 
function, that of keeping the keys of Hades. Both are his as 
irdpeSpo^ of Pluto and Kore, who holds in the Underworld the 
position which Rhadamanthus holds in Elysium beside Kronos 
and Bhea What is the basis of this irapeSpia ? To speak of 
it as a reward of pre-eminent virtue is surely to import modem 
notions into Greek religious thought. Rhadamanthus appears 
to enjoy it as the son of Kronos, and his presence in Elysium is 
mentioned in that prophecy of Proteus to Menelaus which 
brings home to us how much more a hero's final destiny 
depended on considerations of pedigree than of individual 
merit"'. Better men than Menelaus must roam the cheerless 
asphodel meadow, but to him it is foretold that he will not die 
in hollow Argos, for the immortals will send him to Elysium 
because he is yafi^po^ A£09"^ Again, even in the so much 
later myth of the Oorgias, Rhadamanthus and the rest are 
made judges, not as the most righteous of mankind but as sons 
of Zeus. 

We suspect then that the irapeipia of Aeacus indicates a 
closer connection with Pluto and Kore than can be affirmed of 
any Achaean hero, and a parallel suggests itself between his 
irapeBpia and that of Triptolemus, which is evidenced by vase 
paintings^^, though he is only once named among the Judges 
by Plato. 

Now I have tried to show that Aeacus was to Aegina 
precisely what Triptolemus was to Eleusis, autochthonous king, 
priest, hero-founder, and patron. But whereas the latter's 
association with the Earth Mother under the local form of 

ii» Evag, 8. 
"« Bk. m. 12. 6. 
"7 Odyss, IV. 561. 

"" Pindar (01, 11. 87) admits Peleus and Cadmus to Elysium; 'AxtXX^a 
T* iy€iK\ iirel ZTjvbs rjrop Xircuj (weiae, fidrrip, 
»» See Appendix B. 


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Eleusis remained unbroken through her successive phases of 
Ge and Demeter, the identical relation of Aeacus towards her 
was early obscured by the incoming of a foreign mythology. 
Perhaps if the Achaeans had never come to Aegina we should 
know him as the son of one of those ancient Aeginetan god- 
desses to whom Pausanias sacrificed with Eleusinian rites^. 

Be that as it may, it is to his cult as local Hero that I 
would trace his irapeSpia, and consequently his Judgeship. 
For the worship of the Heroes resembled in all essentials that 
of the Underworld gods, and he who was honoured by men 
with the same rites as Pluto and Kore was, by a natural trans- 
ference of ideas, said to be honoured in the realms below, to 
be throned at their side and invested with a share of their 
authority. Nor is this view inconsistent with that priority 
in time of the local Hero's cult which the principle that the 
concrete in religion as in other fields of thought must precede 
the abstract, almost requires us to assume. Although the dead 
may have been the first Avengers, and not Pluto but the 
worshipped ancestor the first dispenser of Earth's plagues, as of 
her blessings, the idea of judgment is a refinement on the 
simpler idea of vengeance which does not emerge till the chaos 
of ghosts has become the cosmos of Nether Zeus. The language 
of Aeschylus implies a final reckoning, a setting of good against 
evil in the sum total of a life, only to be accomplished when 
Death has closed the account, and thus the function of Pluto, 
the €v0vvo<; ^poroov, is conceived as distinct from those retribu- 
tive powers of the dead which begin to afflict the guilty from 
the moment of his crime. 

If Heroes had developed into Judges because they possessed 
these powers, we should expect to find their Judgeship the 
earliest on record, and especially might we look for traces of it 
in such a play as the JEumenides, But none such exist, and 
the latest phase of Aeacus and his co-assessors only sets in 
when the figure of Pluto, perhaps never very clearly defined, 
begins to melt into the surrounding gloom. That they derived 
their jurisdiction over souls from Pluto is further indicated in 

190 Damia and Auxesia. See Paus. n. 80, Herod, v. 82. 


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the case of Aeacus by his keeping the keys of Hades, since 
to do so was the prerogative of the god himself — IlkovT(ov, 09 
Kari'x^ei^ yairj^ KXrjlBa^ d7rd(Tr)<;^^ — who was represented bearing 
them on a table for the victors' garlands at Olympia^^. 

As KXeiBovxo^, Aeacus remained familiar in Greek mouths 
long after his other titles to fame had faded from popular 
memory^, and, like S. Peter in another sphere, through perver- 
sion of the symbolism of the keys he was at last degraded from a 
Judge into a Janitor. It is in the r61e of Hell's Porter that he 
appears in some of Lucian's Dialogues^^, and is represented, 
holding Cerberus in a leash, on a vase in the British Museum^. 

But at some date in early Imperial times, and probably in 
his own island, his Underworld honours culminated in a repre- 
sentation of him enthroned as sole Judge of the dead which, 
appropriately enough for an Aeginetan hero's memorial, is 
preserved by a coin-tjrpe^. 

To sum up this portion of the inquiry: Aeacus becomes 
Judge as the 7rapeS/>09 of Pluto, and his irapehpia results from 
his cult as local Hero; this cult was based on non-Achaean 
beliefs about the dead which lived on in popular tradition, 
are illustrated by Herodotus and Aeschylus, and, already en- 
nobled by the Mysteries, received their highest expression from 
Pindar and Plato. 

One word in conclusion as to the number of the Judges. 

They appear generally speaking as a group of three, but 
we cannot regard them as a trinity, for the composition of the 

121 Hymn in Plut., 174. 

iM Paus. V. 20. 3. Cf. Argon. Orph, 1369,— 

0? t' dpa vepripdw pepidpwv KXyjidas ^ovffu 
Doabtless the keys originally symbolised Pluto's wardenship of the riches of the 
earth, and only later his identification with Hades lIvXdpTTji. 

^^ oiiK ^(Tt' iv "Kkbov wXoioVy oi vopOfieifS Xdpow, 

oifK Aloucbs KXcidovxoSf oifx^ K4p^€pos | k^uw. C J. O, 6298. 
On A. as long a type of justice however, cf. a Christian epitaph, Alaxoi (it 
ddpoiaiv dK^paros, Kaibel, Epig, Oraec, 173. 

^ De mort, xra. 3, xxii. 3. De luct, 4. 

i2» Fourth Vase Room, F. 116. 

'*• Appendix B. n. 


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group varied ; Aeacus and Rhadamanthus are always included, 
but the third is sometimes Minos, sometimes Triptolemus, 
while all four are named at the close of the Apology. Socrates 
adds to the list koX aXkoi o<roi t&v rjixideayv SUaioi iyivovTO iv 
T^ eavT&v fitqyy and it seems probable that the number was not 
originally limited, but that in each state or district its own 
Hero would be vaunted irapa UXovtcovc fcal Koprj fjueyLa-ra^; 

It is easy to see how these lesser lights would pale before 
Aeacus and Triptolemus with the growing ascendency of 
Athens, but why did Minos and Rhadamanthus hold their 

The former was of course obnoxious to the Athenians and 
there seem to me to be other reasons for doubting whether 
they ever grouped him with Aeacus and Triptolemus. He is 
not inscribed on the only Underworld vase (the fine Canossa 
amphora at Munich) where he is supposed to appear, and where 
the Asiatic garb of one Judge might equally denote Rhadaman- 
thus, though Winckler^^ and others assume that the three 
depicted are the three of the Qorgias. 

Now Plato there says expressly that he borrows the descrip- 
tion of Minos from Homer, and moreover, while Rhadamanthus 
as a Cretan has jurisdiction over Asiatic souls, Minos is made 
iirLBiKd^eLv, which looks as if he were the later of the two. On 
these grounds I would maintain that the group stereotyped by 
Athenian tradition and portrayed by the vase-painters who 
followed it^^ is Aeacus — Triptolemus— Rhadamanthus, Minos 
being introduced by Plato in the fairy-tale of Zeus making his 
sons judges with a conscious reminiscence of the Nekuia passage 
already quoted. 

The influence of Homer is doubtless likewise responsible for 
the persistence in legend of the lofty, perhaps unique, position 
of Rhadamanthus, as to whom we can but say provisionally that 
he came into the Underworld when Elysium, originally the 
abode not of the dead but of the living, was transplanted 

127 Unterwelt auf Unt. Ital. Vasen. 
^ Appendix A. 


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To complete this study of Aeacus in Hades by tracing the 
incoming of his most enigmatical coadjutor would take us too 
far afield, even to the Islands of the West and the depths of 
Vergil's Tartarus. 

Such explorations, we are warned, may not lightly be em- 
barked on save by the chosen few — 

"Pauci, quos aequus amavit 


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Relics and Appearances op Heroes. 

In connection with the (rvfifrnx^a of the Aeacids, which was 
secured by the presence of material objects, whether ancient images 
or, as one may conjecture, embalmed remains, it may be interesting 
to compare the following instances. 

1. The Spartans brought the bones of Orestes from Tegea to 
Sparta, about the middle of the 6th century, the Athenians those of 
Theseus to Athens early in the 5th century, " both so far as we can 
tell with a view of strengthening the position they were anxious to 
take up — the Spartans as leaders of the Peloponnesian Confederacy, 
the Athenians as leaders of the Delian League." Evelyn Abbott, 
Herod. V, and VL p. 167. 

So also at the bidding of the Delphic Oracle, the bones of Tisa- 
menus were brought from Helice to Sparta (Paus. vii. 1) and those 
of Areas from Maenalus to Mantinea (Paus. viii. 36) and those of 
Aristomenes from Rhodes to Messene (Paus. iv. 32). All these 
seem to have been "political moves." 

The bones of Hector were said to rest at Thebes, whither they 
had been brought in consequence of an oracle (Paus. ix. 18). 

To avert a plague, the bones of Hesiod were fetched from 
Naupactus to Orchomenus (Paus. ix. 38). On the other hand, ex- 
posure of the bones of Orpheus caused the destruction of Libethra 
(Paus. IX. 30). 

2. That presence of the Heroes which possession of their relics 
was held to ensure, was manifested to actual sight on many a critical 
occasion, especially in battle. During the battle of Salamis a vision 
of armed men stretching forth their hands from the heights of 
Aegina encouraged the Greeks, who deemed them to be the Aeacids. 


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(Plut. Themist 119 c?.) At Marathon a hero Echetlaeus did good 
service, and Theseus seems to have appeared. The latter was 
represented "rising out of the earth" in the picture of the battle on 
the Stoa Poikile at Athens (Paus. i. 2). At Leuctra, Aristomenes 
fought for the Thebans against his ancient enemies (Paus. iv. 32). 
When "the Barbarians" came to Delphi, they were pursued as they 
turned back in terror, by the heroes Phylakos and Autonoos who 
each had a precinct there (Herod, viii. 39). The Phrygians of 
Celaenae repulsed a Gallic army by the help of Marsyas (Paus. iv. 
39). At Salamis Kychreus was said to have appeared in the form 
of a great snake. Many other instances might doubtless be added, 
of which the appearance of the Great Twin Brethren at the battle of 
the Lake Regillus has been made familiar to English readers by 
Macaulay's Lay. 

In historical times the gods were mostly already remote, Olym- 
pian. The Greeks before Salamis eu^a/Acvot Trao-t roto-t ^cotcrt avroOev 
/x€v Ik '^aXafuvo^ Atavrd T€ koX TeXafJLwva CTrcKaXcovro (Herod. VIII. 

The only gods recorded to have fought in historical battles are, I 
believe. Pan who fought at Marathon, Hermes who fought for 
Tanagra " in the guise of a lad armed with a scraper" (Paus. ix. 22) 
and Poseidon, whom the Mantineans said they saw fighting for them 
against Agis and his Spartans (Paus. viii. 10). Of these, Pan was not 
recognised as a god by the Athenians till he had rendered them this 
signal service, while the Arcadian Hermes and Poseidon never became 
acclimatised to Olympus. It is noticeable that all the Heroes above 
mentioned also belong to the old population of the country. Ajax 
Oileus (who fought in the Locrian van, Paus. iii. 19) must be named 
as an exception. 


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Abacus on Underworld Vases, and on a Coin. 

I. A SERIES of fine vases from Lower Italy, representing Orpheus 
in the Underworld, illustrates to some extent the eschatological myths 
of Plato. E. Kuhnert in a striking article (Archcieolog. Jahrbtichy 
1893 — 4, p. 104) seeks to prove that they are inspired by the same 
Orphic teaching as these myths. 

In any case they afford an interesting and probably traditional 
representation of the three Judges. 

1. On the splendid Canossa amphora at Munich, to the left 
of the conventional Palace of Persephone and Pluto, appear three 
bearded men of dignified mien. On the left stands one bearing 
a long sceptre and magnificently dressed in Asiatic style with a high 
Phrygian-looking head-dress. Next him, seated on a chair spread 
with a leopard^s skin, is a half-draped figure, also sceptred, wearing 
shoes and a bracelet, and having a veil drawn over the back of his 
head. The third sits opposite, also half -draped, with bracelet and 
shoes. In his right hand is a knotted club. His bowed figure and 
white hair and beard are those of a very old man. 

2. Tlie Altamura (Naples) Vase has suffered much from resto- 
rations, but on the other hand, most of the figures are inscribed. Of 
our group, TPIOIITOAEMOS (sic) sits on the left, fully draped, his 
sceptre topped by an eagle, on his head a laurel-wreath. AIA.KOS 
leans on a knotted staff, he wears shoes, and a long himation is 
drawn partly over his head. The third (*Pa8a)MAN(H)0S is dressed 
like Triptolemus but his head is partly veiled by his himation, like 
Aeacus. He is bald and white-bearded. 

3. The fragment of an Amphora at Karlsruhe preserves only 
part of our group. (Attt)KOS sits on a thronos with his head partly 
veiled. He seems to be bearded. Only part of the figure remains. 
TPin(ToX€/i,os) is a young handsome figure with curling hair, partly 
draped in a mantle which passes over his left shoulder, and wearing 
an armlet. 


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II. Latest of all representations of Aeacus, and unique as a 
type is the copper Imperial coin first published by Friedlander 
[ArchasoL ZeiU 1871]. The only known examples, which both came 
from Athens and are now in the Berlin Museum, are unfortunately 
in a bad state of preservation. Friedlander dates the coin from its 
style and workmanship as early Imperial 

The obverse shows a head in profile which has not so far been 
identified with that of any Emperor, but resembles that of Claudius, 
if one may judge from casts of the coin. The same contour of skull 
with its unusual prominence at the back is seen on Pontic coins of 
Claudius {Brit, Mus, Cat. Coins of Pontus). Of the inscription there 
remain only the letters CAB (under the chin) and the ending 
HTON at the back of the head. In spite of this ending, so sugges- 
tive on a coin with Aeacus for its type of AIFINHTON, Friedland^ 
hesitated to assign it to Aegina because no Imperial coinage of that 
city is known earlier than Septimius Severus. Is is not possible 
however that Aegina may have coined for a short time only under 
the early Emperors'? Or may this be a coin of an Aeginetan Colony] 
It is curious that one seems to have been founded in the very district 
of Pontus, the coins of which bear the portrait of Claudius that 
resembles the head on this obverse. (See Miiller's Aeginetica, 
Coloniae Aegin.) 

But it is the reverse which more immediately concerns us here. 
The fortunately legible inscription is AIAKOS. Before his enthroned 
and sceptred figure stands one on a smaller scale wrapped in a 
mantle, behind this another and still smaller figure standing appa- 
rently cross-legged, on a low pillar. Friedlander describes the last 
as a "Todgenius" holding a down-turned torch, but this accessory is 
not to be discerned, without faith, on the casts. 

This type of Aeacus enthroned as sole Judge corresponds to no 
known tradition but must surely have arisen under the auspices of 
his cult in Aegina. 

Pausanias could still describe Aegina "for the sake of Aeacus 
and his exploits," and though Hecate was by his time the divinify 
honoured above all others by the Aeginetans, we do not know if 
she had long displaced their earlier Patron. 

Curiously like this enthroned Aeacus is the Minos on an Imperial 
coin of Cnossus. (Figured by Millingen, Tomhes de Canose, PI. 36, 
and in Zeitschrift filr Numisniat. vi. 232.) 



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